Monday, April 20, 2009

On the River: Gunnison River, Gunnison, CO

We just couldn't get enough fishing on Saturday, so we decided to hit the Gunnison River on Sunday. It was pretty short lived, only fishing from 2:30 to 4:30, but because of the recent cold weather, the blood-flow of spring runoff was staved off for one last day and we decided to capitalize on it.

Fun story, really ... we fished a lot of the usual to start with and didn't have much luck. We did see some dark bodied caddis flying around, along with a few small black stones. Being a small-fly kind of guy, I don't spend much time fishing Stonefly patterns; but guessing the fish were pretty deep, I decided to rig up with a Prince Nymph and egg pattern combination (see reasoning from previous blog). 

The tungsten Prince Nymph and slow deep water have a tendency to butt heads, so we found ourselves hooking up on the bottom quite frequently. That's when the gears in my head got turning a bit (insert rusty creaking noise here) and I started doing a light "pull set" to release the fly from the obstacle hanging it up. The thought was, that if a fish hit, I'd feel the resistance, and if not, a slow pull set would imitate a Stonefly crawling toward the banks like its usual hatching process.

Turns out I was right! We ended up hooking 8 fish in about 20 minutes, all in the healthy 14"+ range. It was like clockwork ... we would make a few pull sets and inevitably one of them would pull back, then you just lifted the rod like normal and waited for the fast run of a 14" brown to ensue.

I think that's what I love about this sport so much - even in the highly predictable West, you can still figure out new, unique situations that you've never tried before.

Here's to Discovery!

On the River: Uncompahgre River, Montrose, Colorado

As you no doubt gathered from my earlier post, Michelle and I were a little sick of the late season snow storms, so we decided to head west on Saturday toward Montrose/Grand Junction area to try and improve our weather odds. Our sights were set on the Gunnison Gorge, but as fate would have it, the North Fork of the Gunnison was running at 1000+ CFS, meaning you couldn't wade across it to access the clearer dam release water of the Gorge. So, we decided to try out the Uncompahgre River just below Ridgway Reservoir.

It's a catch and release stretch of water, and I had heard it was on par with the Taylor River C & R. The water was flowing pretty high and fast, but greenish/clear. All and all it was a pretty successful day and definitely scratched where it itched. From a visual scan of the river it is NOT on par with the fish size of the Taylor C & R, but there were a lot of deep holes we couldn't really see into all that well.

We got a bit of a tease with hooking up in the first 15 minutes of being on the water with a 16" rainbow, but the rest of the day was filled with consistent 8" to 12" fish. Surprisingly, most of the fish were really good looking, including this rainbow that had some unique spotting.

Most of the time we fished what will become known to the regular readers of this blog as the "Jeff Allen standard nymph rig". That's right, you guessed it ... a soft hackle bead headed hare's ear with a blacktail baetis trailing by about 8". I always use an adjustable indicator so I can set my depth based on each spot I'm fishing (setting your depth right gives you the best chance at strike detection).

It was a great day on the river, and would have been even if we caught nothing - simply because we were in light, hooded sweatshirts basking in the 60 degree sun. Nothing but smiles here ... and I've now fished another stretch of water that I intend to go back and visit again.

Good Drifts,

Friday, April 17, 2009


Oh, the Spring! It's such a tease. You think that winter is nearing an end, and then suddenly ... 6" of new snow on April 17th. It is not so much that a little spring storm has got me all riled up, but the fact that the weather has decided to make the last 3 weekends unfishable with rain, snow and massive amounts of wind. To make matters worse, come Monday morning the clouds roll away and it's a sunny 50 degrees.

I think, to the fly fisherman, that is what is so hard about the winter. Sure you can get out plenty of days if your prepared and willing to be a little patient for the right weather, but then you start to dream of summer days (jay actually wrote a great article that you should check out) and think you are nearing them, only to find that Spring is still in the way and even though the air is warmer, the conditions can be pretty tough (especially in the West).

I have no real point to this entry, except to express my displeasure that Michelle and I were planning on heading to the lower Gunnison River Gorge and soak up the sun, and now it is not so.